Sport

From a tutu the US Open tennis to 2-2 for Tyrone in the All-Ireland football final...

Serena Williams wore a Louis Vuitton-styled ensemble at the US Open – fairly stylish albeit arguably not the sort of thing you would have managed to get away with in a Belfast Primary Schools GAA quarter-final in the mid-’80s
Kevin Farrell

BEECHMOUNT Leisure Centre in the mid-'80s was no country for a pair of wooly tracksuit bottoms knitted by a right corner-forward's ma – or da with respect.

Okay, a Belfast Primary Schools quarter-final between St Paul's (us) and St Finian's (them) was hardly cotton-rich All-Ireland Super 8s material.

The Beechy's gravel and glass-strewn surface was definitely no Croke Park. And 4G was your half-brother's secondary school form class, not your multi-layered artificial pitch of the future despite QPR and Luton Town's flirtations with spare off-cuts from their local greengrocers.

Wool was nearly cool in those days anyway. And, sure, didn't they grow scullery cupboards with Curley's bags full of the stuff skewered with aluminium needles all shapes and sizes in every house on the street?

Still, unwritten school sports kit protocols were bludgeoned to a pulp that sorry day in west Belfast. The game was up well before throw-in, our dreams popped by Ma Donnelly's pair of 40cm javelins.

A decade and-a-half of the Troubles paused for a silent 30 seconds as everyone to a man, boy and stray mongrel clocked a second jook at the absolute nick of yer number 13.

Wee Kevy [not me] didn't see a big problem with his Aran activewear. The red almost matched the jaded shade of the washed-out jersey.

He was a tad itchy round the loins and rump apparently, but he'd be dead-on if the rain stayed off for the full hour (extra-time if required).

Our dedicated bainisteoir – the late, great Gerry Barry – was a half-blink away from salty tears. Wool. He'd never see its like again. And that was a man who was the Antrim county secretary at the time.

Needless to say, with the cloned offspring of Bosco and Dolly the Sheep gamboling about the 21 in the ancestral equivalent of Under Armour, it teemed on us. Biblically. And we were then bate clean out the gate by a culture of speedsters who'd been invented and primed for moments like this on their fairly unwooly Divis Flats beat.

Alas, 30-odd years on from Knitgate, the internet almost caved in this week under the deadweight of, er, yarns and threads about clothing incidents across the world of sport. I mean, what are the chances, eh?

If it wasn't Kenyan steeplechase king Conselus Kipruto winning Thursday's lucrative Diamond League final in Zurich with just one shoe on for the guts of the three kilometres, it was French tennis player Alize Cornet being ticked off by US Open officials on Tuesday for having the brazen temerity to adjust her back to front t-shirt (sure we all do it) on court and reveal a sports bra (sure, we...) of all things for the blink of an eyelid.

Kipruto, of course, didn't choose to race with just one shoe. He'd been robbed of his left spike during the first lap, presumably by a fellow competitor who'd started the race with either one shoe or three legs.

It's surely only a matter of time before some hipster glype with a doctorate from Colorado Sole and Toe Institute proves how wearing one shoe is way forward for mankind with all left-footed gutties consigned to the same skip as wee Kevy's ill-fated wooly tracksuit begs.

As for Cornet, her code violation for ‘unsportsmanlike behaviour' spawned from the double standards of the stuffy, sexist small print in tennis's Grand Slam rulebook governing how and where attire should be changed or adjusted during a match for men and women players respectively.

US Open officials later apologised to the French player and clarified their policy, which was really lovely of them 18 slow years into the

21st century.

The Cornet incident comes on the back of French Open tennis officials banning Serena Williams from wearing her catsuit-style outfit on court in the future because French tennis bigwig Bernard Giudicelli said “I think sometimes we've gone too far. It will no longer be accepted. You have to respect the game and the place”.

The outfit made Serena feel like a “warrior princess” from Wakanda, the fictional nation from the Marvel comic movies, which is arguably good enough reason for anyone to wear whatever clobber or costume they want to during a tennis match or any other event in life.

The fact that the outfit was primarily designed to help prevent blood clotting was clearly lost on Stacksacraic Bernard. His call for a ban was also backed at the time by that debonair on-court dresser Rafa Nadal. Maybe it's now a good time for all tennis honchos to bang their haughty heads together and clarify the policy on Rafa pulling and hauling at his Y-fronts like a rattlesnake with a dose of Saint Vitus Dance while loitering on the baseline for an eternity pre-service.

Fashionista Serena's response to the snottery finger-wagging over her Black Panther-style attire in May was to rock up at the US Open this week and blitz Flushing Meadows in a Louis Vuitton-styled frilly tutu featuring one-shoulder top, a tulle skirt and fishnet compression tights (copy and pasted) to aid circulation – a full kit that maybe wouldn't have gone down all that well in the Beechy three decades ago, circulation issues or not in fairness.

The week peaked with Philomena Begley (inset) knocking about Twitter's narrow corridors in her Tyrone shirt ahead of tomorrow's All-Ireland final. If I were Mickey, I'd leave the blanket on the ground or in the Croke tunnel at least and hang a few hoofs up for the woman herself on the edge of the square between Cooper and Philly Mac.

Stranger things have happened on a Gaelic pitch, believe you me...

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